The year is 1935, Max Eisenhardt is a 9 year old boy who is about to experience horrors that will scar him for the rest of his life. He's going to be put through hell as a victim of Nazi brutality. He's going to be beaten and humiliated in the most terrible of ways. But worst of all, Max will witness the barbaric genocide of his people. This is the story of a young boy who would grow up to become mankind's greatest threat. This is the origin story of the X-Men's greatest foe; The mutant master of magnetism Magneto.-summary
Created by Stan Lee and the late Jack Kirby, Magneto made his debut in issue #1 of The X-Men in 1963. Initially, he was just another stock bad guy with goals on world domination using terrorist acts to achieve his goals. Later on during the years, people would learn more about him, and they would actually begin to sympathize with him. Magneto was a Jewish Holocaust survivor, and he witnessed many of his people viciously beaten, tortured, and killed. He would later learn that he was a mutant with the ability to manipulate the magnetic field.
Due to mankind's growing fear of mutants, which would soon evolve into hatred. The mutant population would become victims of racism and bigotry as well as violent behaviour. Magneto vowed that he would never again witness these atrocities against his people. Therefore, he was going to fight back this time. Even if it meant waging a full scale war against humanity.
X-Men: The Magneto Testament is a five chapter mini-series by Marvel Comics, and is written by Greg Pak. The story depicts young Magneto's struggle through the Holocaust. While also providing the necessary background on what made him into humanity's greatest enemy. After reading this story, I now fully understand Magneto's drive and he has become easier for me to sympathize with.
I really enjoyed the direction, and I think it was a brilliant move to use factual events. But what I found to be absolutely genius; was the decision to force Magneto into witnessing all of these horrors first hand. Nothing was told to him through word of mouth. Magneto together with his family, endured the Nuremberg Laws(by watching his uncle beaten in the street with a sign around his neck), unfair treatment in school, watching his neighbors thrown out into the streets from their homes, and beaten and shot by Nazi's. The horrors only continued for Magneto with him being forced to manually burn his own peoples corpses. This large amount of background provided for him adds an unbelievable amount of depth. There are nothing but reasons to understand Magneto's drive, and why he fights so hard for his mutantkind.
The graphic novel has a great amount of disturbing content; such as children being shot dead in the street for soldiers entertainment. As well as people being shot and tossed into mass graves being prepared for burnings. The disturbing, yet, factual content doesn't stop there. The reader will also witness the Nazi's playing on the people's emotions, by telling them lies to get their hopes up; only to send them into the gas chambers in masses. Yes, this is only a comic book, but the content is indeed very grim.
In all of my years of reading comics. I have never put down a comic book that I was heavily into, unless, I had something important to do. However, I was forced to here because I was disturbed by its realism. I did quite a bit of research on the evil acts committed by the Nazi's before, so none of these things were new to me. But this was the only time I actually imagined myself in those peoples shoes, and I really didn't like that feeling.
The writing is also superb and everything is well formatted. There's quite a bit of narration which described the event currently going on. There are also various footnotes on German translations for their hate filled signs. The dialogue can also be quite disturbing, with the characters describing some of the evil acts they had recently seen. This book really isn't for everybody, and it's definitely not for kids.
The artwork by Carmine Di Giandomenico really isn't that great, and I do consider it to be average at best. However, the story is so rich in depth and emotion, that this flaw can easily be overlooked. The pictures portray the misery and suffering these people went through. From those suffering from starvation, on to the ones being burned into ashes by the crematory. There are small amounts of nudity, but it's never too graphic, and it's not tossed in there for the sake of shock value. It really does enhance the story, by only further displaying the humiliation these people went through.
I commend Greg Pak for the effort he went through to put this story together using factual material. In the back of the book, there are various footnotes and references with website URL's that can be looked up. Which is meant to add to the books authenticity. I haven't looked them all up yet, but I will get to all of them soon. One thing for sure, is that my curiosity on the subject has once again been piqued.
After finishing this book, I came to respect and understand the character of Magneto even more. I always did see where he was coming from, but this origin story was indeed an eye opener. However, despite his violent and traumatic past. It can always be argued that his ways aren't morally correct. One of the more interesting things about Magneto's character is the ongoing debate between him and Professor Xavier. Can Magneto really be considered the savior of mutantkind with his violent tactics, which breeds only more hatred? Or is he just slowly becoming what he hates so much? Throughout the years, he has tried to walk the straight and narrow, but would always come back to his original beliefs. The biggest defense Magneto has is that the X-Men didn't see what he saw. I guess only time will tell.
I highly recommend this book to fans of the X-Men series of course. In addition, I also think it would be a good read for non fans. The good thing about it is, a non fan isn't required to have knowledge of the series or the character. All of the story and character development is here. The story is completely realistic with absolutely no type of superhero antics. For a comic book which is based on a superhero or supervillain, this is as real as I've ever seen it. The book is 152 pages and is in hardcover form.
Pros: -Very gripping story, attention to detail given to historical accuracy, very disturbing moments
This is truly a masterpiece in the graphic novel medium. As many know, this is the origin story of Magneto of X-Men, set in Europe during the Holocaust. This story adds a ton of depth to Magneto's character without at all feeling forced, and by the end of it, you'll certainly understand why Max Eisenhardt becomes Magneto and why he's so determined to protect mutantkind. Despite the X-Men title, there's no mutant … more
Today, the whole world knows him as Magneto, the most radical champion of mutant rights that mankind has ever seen. But in 1935, he was just another schoolboy - who happened to be Jewish in Nazi Germany. The definitive origin story of one of Marvel's greatest icons begins with a silver chain and a crush on a girl - and quickly turns into a harrowing struggle for survival against the inexorable machinery of Hitler's Final Solution From X-Men: Phoenix-Endsong writer Greg Pak and award-winning artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. Collects X-Men: Magneto Testament #1-5.